Skip to main content

Full text of "Soft Circuits"

See other formats

Light-Up EL Wire Costume 

Make] Projects 

hhiiilH ho/ 1 !/ tuMaal/ chare r\icf*f\\tat* 

build, hack, tweak, share, discover,- 

Light-Up EL Wire Costume 

Written By: Nathan 


Dressform (1) 
Fabric chalk (1) 
Needle (1) 
Paper (1) 
Pencil or pen (1) 

Scissors (1) 


something strong enough to stick to 

Thread (1) 


■ • 

EL wire (1) 

for body: length varies depending on 


EL wire (1) 

for gloves: length varies depending on 


Jumpsuit (1) 

Carpenter kneepads (1) 

Helmet (1) 

Stretch fabric (1) 

Headphones (1) 

Gloves (1) 

Matte black tape (1) 

Battery pack (2) 


Here's how to design and sew a cool EL wire costume. 

© Make Projects 

Page 1 of 7 

Light-Up EL Wire Costume 

Step 1 — Light-Up EL Wire Costume 

• Since this was my first foray into 
the world of EL wire, I had no 
supplies in stock, and no idea what 
exactly I would need. I did 
extensive research to determine 
the most cost-effective way to 
achieve the design, and decided to 
go with , 
whose products are both affordable 
and well-reviewed. 

• After securing a supplier, 
determine just what type and how 
much EL wire you'll need. I went 
with 4.0mm EL wire for the main 
body and 2.2mm EL wire for the 
glove details, both in the color 
"Power Green." You'll find that 
different suppliers stock different 
weights and colors of EL wire, so 
choose the weight and color you 
like best. 

• Sketch your design on paper, and 
then lay it out on the dressform 
using rope and pins. 

© Make Projects 

Page 2 of 7 

Light-Up EL Wire Costume 

Step 2 

• To get a more accurate idea of 
what supplies you need, apply the 
layout you created to the actual 
garments. I chose a black jumpsuit 
(which had to be significantly 
modified), black carpenter 
kneepads, a helmet with face cage 
which I covered in black stretch 
fabric, large headphones, and 
gloves to act as the base of the 

• Put your base garments on a 
dressform or an assistant and 
mark out a second rough draft of 
where the wires will go. After doing 
this to each piece of the costume, 
you will know the length of EL wire 
you need. Order the EL wire. 

© Make Projects 

Page 3 of 7 

Light-Up EL Wire Costume 

Step 3 

• After you mock-up the wire 
configuration with rope, use chalk 
to outline the traces. 

• Once your EL wire arrives, put the 
base layer back on the form and 
begin laying on the EL wire and 
taping it in place. This allows you 
plenty of wiggle room to change 
your layout or tweak the design. 

• Once you are pleased with the way 
it looks, sew it down. 

© Make Projects 

Page 4 of 7 

Light-Up EL Wire Costume 

Step 4 

• You can use a variety of methods 
to secure the EL wire to the 
different elements of the costume. 

• For the main body (jumpsuit and 
gloves), hand sew the wire (it's 
way too thick to go under a 
machine!) using a whipstitch with 
quadrupled thread (meaning it ran 
through the eye of the needle four 
times instead of just one) in a light 
color so that the weight of the 
thread won't interfere with the line 
when the wire is lit. 

• It's essential when doing a project 
as large as this to knot off the 
thread every few inches. The 
reason for this is that if one area 
breaks or snags, you don't want it 
to affect the rest of the costume, 
since it's all one piece of wire. 

© Make Projects 

Page 5 of 7 

Light-Up EL Wire Costume 

Step 5 

• Black out certain areas of the wire 
with matte black tape, per your 
design (That provides less 
interference than running the wire 
inside the costume.) 

• Make your suit as user-friendly as 
possible. The helmet should be set 
up to have its own battery pack. 
Lay the gloves out so that the wires 
run off the edge of the gloves and 
join to connector wires on the 
sleeves. Secure the battery packs 
to the back of the suit by cutting 
slits in the fabric and hooking the 
clips of the battery packs into the 

Step 6 

• The only thing left is to connect all 
the wires, turn it on, and hope it 
works! Oh yeah, and dance. 

This document was last generated on 201 2-1 1 -03 02:38:00 AM. 

© Make Projects 

Page 6 of 7 

Light-Up EL Wire Costume 

© Make Projects Page 7 of 7